A year ago I wrote a post concerning the glaring lack of racial diversity on a PDN 24 man panel of judges. It fell mostly on deaf ears, and would have qualified for the "if a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it" category- if it wasn't for the fact that someone considerably more prominent than I did, in fact, hear, respond, and decide to throw a considerable amount of fuel unto my spark. That person, of course, was Benjamin Chesterton of Duckrabbit, and soon many of us were engaged in a rather large brouhaha on several online venues. People who agreed, disagreed, denied and advocated. I'm just grateful the discussion started, no matter how it started- it was, and still is long overdue. And I can't help but think how much easier and forthright it would have been for PDN to admit from the get go- Oops! Our bad, we're usually pretty up on these things (they generally are), but we dropped the ball on this one; and we'll make sure to address it from now on. Which is pretty much what they ended up saying anyway- only much, much later after the outcry continued to grow, expand and ultimately embarrass... Funny how things work that way.
The 2010 issue is out now and this time there are 29 judges, fourteen of which are women (pretty much half, as opposed to one third last year), and there's a small smidgen (less than a quarter) of people of color. A small smidgen being a "vast" improvement over last year.
The number of women on this panel is not an accident, had it been fifteen females, it would, in fact, accurately reflect the M/F ratio in the world's population. Of course, no one would ever rationally consider protesting such proportional representation- a long overdue and welcomed "end" of our sexist past. Yet suggest something approaching a more representational ratio when it comes to race and ethnicity, and one instantly elicits feverish outcries of fascism, favoritism and yes... racism!